ACT News


Doctors warn to drink responsibly as Canberrans welcome the New Year

Calvary Hospital's emergency department has treated more than 1000 patients in the week of Christmas and leading up to the New Year.

The most common reasons for admittance were chest and abdominal pain, and the most common non-acute conditions were superficial injury, community illnesses and viruses.

The Canberra Hospital could not provide numbers.

​There was no noticeable spike in alcohol-related accidents at Calvary.

However, with revellers likely hitting the booze down the coast during the holiday season, a Calvary Medical Officer has offered the following advice:

1. Not only should you not drive after consuming alcohol, but you should also avoid using machinery or equipment, or partaking in sport.


"This especially applies to household equipment, such as tools and gardening implements," the spokesperson said. "Even when you are feeling great you will be impaired and a saw or spade or fork can be very dangerous when not used properly."

2. Stay hydrated, because excessive drinking can cause dehydration.

3. Drinking responsibly also means only drinking products that have a standard drinks reference. Don't binge drink or drink rapidly.

4. Alcohol may affect you longer than you realise. There is nothing you can do to hasten the body's breaking down and passing of alcohol. 

5. Alcohol and illicit drugs won't help if you're feeling down. "Seek assistance for the cause of the feelings," the spokesperson said.

6. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.

It is also important to remember that alcohol and drugs are not the only factors that can impair driving, Australian National University road safety expert, Dr Vanessa Beanland, said.

She found being awake for 17 hours causes the same driving impairment as having a blood alcohol content of .05.

The risk of someone having a car accident with that much alcohol in their system is double that of a 0 per cent reading, the Australian Federal Police reports.